ELK GROVE, Calif. — Elk Grove’s latest effort to bring a “sense of place” for the community will rein in a new year-round open-air market to the city.
The NeighborGood Market is run by Unseen Heroes, a group that’s been organizing events in the region for the past 12 years. While they’re laying the groundwork for Elk Grove’s newest market, they’ve had plenty of experience running the Midtown Farmers Market in Sacramento, the Good: Street Food and Design Market in Del Paso Heights, and Gather Oak Park.
“NeighborGood is truly designed to bring out the good in whatever neighborhood that we’re in,” said Roshaun Davis, owner of Unseen Heroes.
In the lead up to their opening day on September 3, they’ve been calling out to local crafters, makers, designers, and farmers in Elk Grove to highlight their wares at the market.
The local makers were part of the inspiration for even having the new farmers market. With many events and festivals being canceled, the NeighborGood Market will give them a new place to sell their wares and their food.
“That way we can get people to kind of connect with the businesses and then also get people out and get fresh food and access to those type of things,” said Davis.
There’ll be additional vendors every week, but for now, the guest list includes:
- Farms: Etum Organics, KC Flowers, M-Y-H Farms, Yanez Farms, M A Farms, Ponce Farms, Toledo Farms
- Food: Love & Macarons, Wheel Lemonade, Zeal Kombucha, Momma Fine Foods, Garlish, Pawpa flavor, Faria Bakery, Yuan, Zuma Poke, Dolfos Donuts, The Lumpia Truck, Sac Pop Up Truck, and Pollo Inferno
- Artisans: Wickedly Sewn, Green Gifts, PXC, A Seat at the Table Books, Bonnie’s Handknits, Xaviar @Builtfromsketch, Cuyco Calligraphy, My Trendy Trailer, and Rustic Garden
Davis said the farmers market is only the first phase of his plans for the NeighborGood Market. For now, his focus is on a farmers market with some local makers and prepared food, but as the program develops and coronavirus restrictions lighten, he plans to elevate the market into a destination gathering place for food, music and socializing.
The NeighborGood Market will make The Avenue at District 56 its home. The 32,000 square foot community center, was built to give the community a “sense of place,” City Manager Jason Behrmann told ABC10 in January. The market and partnership with Unseen Heroes are the next step in moving forward with that goal.
“Its central location in the heart of the city makes it an ideal location for a new market experience that’s accessible from many Elk Grove neighborhoods,” said Kristyn Laurence, spokesperson for the City of Elk Grove. “The Avenue was designed to accommodate markets and other types of events and activities to be enjoyed by the community.”
Laurence said the city chose Unseen Heroes because of their commitment to highlighting the richness of agriculture and culture in the region.
“We felt they had the capacity to introduce a fun, fresh take on a market in Elk Grove that the community would want to visit to support small and micro-farms and businesses,” she said.
Part of that "fresh take" might just be in its role as an evening market. It’s a move that Davis said was about vibe and creating an atmosphere where people would want to hang out and gather.
"Evening markets can be a beautiful thing, and District 56 is actually, at night, very beautiful,” he said. “They have stream lights already so the vibe is there. So we now... get to kind of... shape that vibe and bring that evening culture.”
As the market launches into Phase 1, they’ll be holding to CDC compliance, which means masks and temperature checks for vendors, booths set up for people to shop outside the tents, handling restrictions for items, and strong encouragement for mask-wearing and social distancing.
The opening day for the market is September 3 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every week and, it is intended to stay year-round.